Is it ethical to conduct interviews about leisure and cinema-going during a lock-down? Are there any benefits in switching to on-line and remote interviewing?
In this paper I will reflect on the challenges of conducting qualitative audience research during the COVD-19 pandemic. The topic will be framed in the context of my on-going project “Investigating Cinema Memories and Transnational Practices: A Qualitative Study with Female Latin-American Audiences in Barcelona and Milan”, which is based on a series of in-depth interviews to Latin-American women, focusing on their memories and practices of cinema-going and media consumption, both in the country of origin and the current place of residence. Between April and June 2020 I’ve conducted 14 remote in-depth interviews, while my field-work in Milan and Barcelona has been postponed. The impossibility to establish in-person relationships and being on site has significantly challenged my methodology as well as the angle of my analysis, encouraging a more intimate and analytical approach. By adopting a feminist stand-point, which engages with reflexivity and valorizes women’s experiences as “situated knowledges” (Haraway, 1988), the project now focuses primarily on the exploration of memories as transnational practices, namely as border-crossing experiences. Following Sandro Mezzadra and Brett Neilson’s notion of border-crossing as “knowledge production” (2013), I am testing the potential of the memories of leisure and cinema-going for the everyday negotiation of borders and distance.
Dalila Missero is a Research Fellow at the School of Arts, at Oxford Brookes University, where she is working on a project on Latin-American women’s media memories. She has received her PhD in Visual, Performing and Media Arts at the University of Bologna and has published essays on gender, sexuality and cinema in the Journal of Italian Cinema & Media Studies, Feminist Media Histories, About Gender, and The Italianist. In parallel with her new project, she is also completing her first monograph “Italian Women and Cinema: The Making of a Feminist Film Culture” for Edinburgh University Press.
This panel brings together three historians whose research looks at the impact of the 1918 flu pandemic on cinema-going habits and the operation of cinemas in different national contexts. They will consider the response of cinema exhibitors, how the pandemic was reported in the trade press and the ways that audiences adapted to this crisis.
Each panellist will give a short presentation followed by a discussion and Q&A session. The three panellists are:
Denis Condon (Maynooth University)
Jessica Whitehead (University of Toronto)
Lawrence Napper (King’s College London)
Date: Monday 3 August, 5pm (UK time)
Speaker: Lior Tibet (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Title: The Irish Film Society and German cinema, 1936-1945
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Abstract: This paper will look at the Irish Film Society as a case study for the complexity of international reception of German Cinema during the years 1936-1945. During the 1930s, the culturally conservative government of the young Irish state was reluctant to support local film productions and cinema culture. Founded in 1936, the Irish Film Society (IFS) wanted to counter this policy and develop the local film industry, by acquainting its members with artistical and educational films from all over the world, and promoting local film studies. Looking at the screenings and reception of German films in the IFS from 1936-45 will help highlight the importance of cinema as a cultural bridge in a time of war.
In order to reach a better understanding of Irish reception of the German cinema, this paper first reviews the situation of the Irish film industry in the 1930s. It then examines events held by the Irish Film Society during 1936-1945, relying on programmes issued by the IFS to its members correspondence and publications in Irish newspapers on German cinema. Finally, my paper focuses on one of the co-founders of the IFS, Liam O’Laoghaire, and his writing on German cinema in his book Invitation to the Film (1945). By doing so, this paper highlights the importance of local, non-governmental organizations in the reception and influence of German cinema on national cultures outside of Germany.
Date: Monday 14 September
Speaker: Dalila Missero (Oxford Brookes University)
Title: Memories as Transnational Practices: Interviewing Latin American Women About Cinema-Going During a Pandemic
Date: Monday 5 October
Speaker: Rafael de Luna Freire (Federal Fluminense University)
Title: Is the Film Projector in the Right Place? Back Projection as a Regular Practice in Brazilian Movie Theatres of the Silent era.
Date: Monday 2 November
Speaker: Maria Velez Serna
Title: Programming the Virtual Community Cinema
Date: Monday 7 December
Speaker: Jessica Whitehead
Title: Comparative Histories of Cinema Audiences
Speaker: Paul Moore (Ryerson University)
Title: ‘When did “Starts Friday!” start? The shift to standardized movie opening days in North America’.
Time: Monday 6 July, 5pm (UK time)
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The speaker will present a 20-minute paper, followed by discussion and Q&A.
All contemporary moviegoers know movies start Fridays, including at least forty years of my own personal experience. But when, why and how did this shift to a standardized, national opening begin? In May 1973, Variety reported Fox was “trying to line up other majors to go along with a proposed shift from Wednesday to Friday openings.” Was this a catalyst? Was the shift regional? Gradual? First only for wide-release blockbusters? Did some studios or chains or exchange territories test alternatives? Why was Friday chosen, and what factor was behind the industry-wide adoption of “Starts Friday!” as a tagline for almost all films “in theatres everywhere!” My answers turn to newspaper databases, combined with trade discourse in Variety and other available sources (for these quarantined times!) I will present at least one early case study of a metropolitan region, of a wide release on a continental scale, and word search hits for publicity catch phrases. This surprisingly simple question, “When did Starts Friday start?” has no quick and easy answer, and yet it holds the foundation for any investigation of American movie marketing and distribution and a cornerstone shaping the experience of blockbusters as part of weekends and mass leisure.
Paul Moore (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Professor of Communication and Culture at Ryerson University. His media histories of cinema exhibition and newspaper distribution in North America have focused on the relation between audiences and publicity, appearing in Film History, Canadian Journal of Film Studies, and The Moving Image. Recent work maps early transnational “circuits of cinema,” also theme of the 2017 International HoMER Conference, which he hosted in Toronto.
The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted the normal ways in which cinema historians share and disseminate their research. This webinar, organised in collaboration with the History of Moviegoing, Exhibition and Reception (HoMER) Network is designed for cinema historians to share their research and discuss current debates in the field.
These free events will take place via Zoom at 5pm (UK time) on the first Monday of each month. Speakers will present a 20-minute paper, followed by a discussion and Q&A session.
We welcome proposals from researchers at all career stages, and would particularly like to hear from postgraduates and early career researchers.
If you are interested in presenting at this webinar, or have any further questions, please contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org with a title and short proposal (200 words maximum).